Friday, June 30, 2017


Yesterday we talked about comments by Michael Oreskes, NPR’s Senior VP of News, at the Public Radio News Directors (PRNDI) annual conference held last week in Miami. Oreskes also broke some news during the conference: NPR is planning on reorganizing its internal system into regional hubs.

According to a post by Al Tompkins on the Poynter Institute’s blog [link], Oreskes told news folks at the conference, that NPR envisions, "more than four and less than 12 hubs around the country."

News gathering and reporting is now centralized in NPR’s Washington, DC newsroom.

Michael Oreskes speaking at PRNDI
Oreskes said that the new regional hubs are needed to better cover regional stories. He said the new arrangement is intended to make it easier for local stations to share expertise and resources for their investigative work and digital content.

The changes-in-progress reflect the increasing importance of local and regional reporting on all platforms. NPR says it is moving toward stronger ties to local stations for coverage of beats such as health, veterans, education, environment and covering state governments.

Oreskes said that 90 stations are already involved in the effort. The goal is to have at least 200 stations participating.

Tompkins reported that there was some push back from News Directors who were attending the conference. Questions arose regarding NPR’s intentions, specifically whether NPR envisions taking over local stations or local websites. Oreskes assured attendees that this not the vision now.

NPR says they will begin implementing the regional hubs next year but it may take three years to build the entire system.


Last Monday (6/26) I posted a column [link] that fell below my own standards. I rushed to publish it before I had all of the facts. Plus, the tone seemed mean spirited and it was not fair to the people and organizations involved.

The post concerned new research from Coleman Insights and PRPD about the relatively low awareness of public radio by the general public. I didn’t, and still don’t, believe the survey’s premise and recommendations are of great value.  This is my own opinion and I offered it to spark discussion.

When I began publishing this blog in September 2014, my goal was, and still is, fact-based reporting. I publish news about public media that is often not available from other sources or requires more context than what others have reported.  My style is typically irreverent and it challenges assumptions. I feel I am making a contribution to our collective enterprise.

When I saw Jody Evans' follow-up comment on Facebook on Tuesday (6/27) I knew I had screwed up.  In the original post, I mistakenly assumed that PRPD had paid Coleman Insights for this project. Evan’s said in her comment that Coleman had donated their services and expertise. I felt like the ungrateful creep that I sometimes am.

I also did not correctly describe Coleman’s methodology.  I should have checked the facts with Coleman and PRPD before publishing my article. In my rush to get the story out, I failed to do my due diligence. I apologize to Jody Evans and Warren Kurtzman of Coleman Insights for my error.

Most of all, I hope that I have not hurt Warren Kurtzman’s enthusiasm for being of assistance to public radio. He has provided insight and wise council to our industry for many years. Coleman’s work is top-notch and I regret implying that the “awareness” survey is not welcome, even though I found flaws in portions of it.

I have rewritten Monday’s post and it now reflects the facts and my own opinions. You, my readers, deserve my best work, based on facts, not assumptions and innuendos. I will do better in the future.

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